1 December 1995

Well worth the cost

SCANNING to identify ewes carrying multiples is used to plan feed rates during pregnancy and aid lambing management on Stan and Marjorie Sherrells 81ha (200-acre) Hole Farm, Bere, Alston, Devon.

Mr Sherrell admits that for a long time he resisted the advice of his vet, Dick Brown, to use the technique. "I felt that knowing exactly what each ewe was carrying would take the fun out of lambing," he says.

But he was persuaded to change his mind and this is the third year he has had his 120 mainly Suffolk cross ewes.

"It is definitely a management aid," he says. "Now when a ewe is carrying a single lamb we can have a triplet ready to foster on to her."

He has found scanning to be 100% accurate and well worth the cost of 50p a ewe.

The drought sees him lambing two weeks later than normal in mid January, and the less than ideal conditions at flushing have left him with a higher number of barreners than usual. "This year we noticed the new, young sheep going to the ram later," he says.

"If they hold well be expecting the flock to lamb at 165%, otherwise the percentage will be pulled down to 150%."

Stan and Marjorie Sherrell prepare their mainly Suffolk cross ewes for pregnancy scanning with help from stockman Jeremy Grills (foreground).